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SAS® Professional Services help major bank achieve multimillion pound benefits

Working across multiple areas, SAS® Consulting, SAS® Education and SAS® Premium Support ensured end-to-end delivery of a new analytics platform that is set to deliver estimated financial benefits of £50m per annum through improved credit risk and new revenues.

When this global bank wanted to ensure it had the latest approaches to credit risk and customer insight analytics across a complex business, it implemented an end-to-end platform based on the SAS® Banking Intelligence Architecture – partnering with SAS® Professional Services throughout.

"This wide-ranging programme spanned multiple projects and lifecycles, each of which had to be addressed effectively," says Kevin Meachen, Professional Services Director, SAS. SAS people played a critical role at every stage, from design through installation to adoption and ongoing support. "In particular, SAS® Premium Support's Technical Account Managers (TAMs) were closely engaged from the very beginning and throughout the programme to ensure we could co-ordinate every service and resource required, with consistent leadership and governance throughout," Meachen adds. "This isn't only about delivering a service; it's about deploying the right people at the right time and ensuring it all fits together. In a situation like this, continuity of people is critical." The new platform, which includes SAS® Grid Computing technology, rapidly became a core system. Its scope ranges from data acquisition from multiple internal and external sources, through data quality and processing, to analytical modelling and reporting in critical business areas.

From vision to execution
The first step was getting the new architecture right, which meant SAS Architect Doug Green was involved early. This enabled him to build strong relationships with both IT and the business while establishing how the platform could be realised. "Early engagement, followed by consistency and continuity, were crucial," he says. "We met regularly and stayed in close contact, so we could handle the inevitable blockages and delays you face, and keep everything on track." Under the SAS Premium Support umbrella, Doug's role was not only about providing overall design and structure but also, along with the TAMs, about maintaining the momentum to deliver. As the requirements have evolved since going live, the TAMs still ask him occasionally to review the architecture to ensure it's still fit for purpose.

"The original vision for the platform was extremely challenging, and I was also involved in those discussions early on," says Alun Rowlands, TAM, who worked at a high level to 'shape and size' the new environment, looking pragmatically at what the bank had to achieve in the next 2–3 years. Another major challenge was the sheer size of the task – a similar platform hadn't been attempted on this scale before – plus the programme's anticipated duration. "Our job was to hold all that together, to provide continuity, to overcome the challenges and ensure we delivered the strategy necessary to achieve the vision. Senior management at the bank pushed hard in terms of costs and resources, so we had to work with our stakeholders to justify absolutely everything we proposed. The fact we'd engaged early meant we had a really good relationship, so they trusted our judgement." Alun says this was also a very contained team, characterised by an extremely agile approach – "We didn't have 30 people on-site for months! The bank engaged with SAS early, we validated early, we took collective responsibility – and delivered." He agrees that SAS Premium Support was critical in terms of flexibility: quickly scaling up with additional resources as required and ensuring access to the right people with the right skills.

In the run-up to the launch, SAS TAM Chris Rigden also became involved, "To help the bank sprint across the finishing line. I managed all on-site support and resources needed to launch and embed the platform." He was then asked to work with the bank's internal Business Intelligence Competency Centre (BICC) to implement new business-led projects using the SAS platform.

Beyond implementation
Whilst vitally important, the actual implementation should be perceived as just one stage on a broader programme, says Kevin Meachen: "Implementation is a core activity for SAS and people know we can do it. But we are increasingly asked to get involved far earlier to help develop the vision and design the architecture to fit. And while you may have implemented an outstanding platform founded on a great vision, the next challenge is to make it stick. You have to get users on board and excited, otherwise you risk losing the value of all the good work you've done." In light of this, the bank used SAS® Adoption Services to speed uptake and ROI. This consisted of a programmatic series of workshops and courses, Learning Needs Assessment, Team Performance Assessments and Train-the-Trainer courses. An important aspect was embedding a SAS team member to examine the bank's needs on an ongoing basis and respond swiftly and flexibly: defining roles, creating competency frameworks and identifying development paths. "They wanted to get the best out of SAS, and my job was to help ensure the platform moved into business-as-usual as quickly as possible," says Chris Dillon, SAS Principal Education Consultant.

In this environment, being able to respond to changing needs quickly and appropriately was critical, given that rapid change had become the norm.

With the total value delivered by SAS people far outstripping the bank's investment in Professional Services, the bank's IT Programme Manager, responsible for delivery, comments: "It was an excellent partnership, and a clear 'big win' was involving SAS Professional Services early on." The relationship continues, and SAS was recently awarded a £1 million service contract to enhance the bank's data strategy.

About SAS® Professional Services
Our objective is to be our customers' trusted technology and business partner. We aim to help our customers get the best out of their investment in SAS by delivering exceptional quality services – across the full range of SAS solutions – in parallel with our expert advice and guidance. Our commitment is to ensure our customers achieve complete satisfaction with our software and services.

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Global Bank - Integrated Services

Business Issue:
Design and deploy a powerful new analytics platform quickly and cost-effectively.
End-to-end support from SAS® Professional Services across multiple strands and project lifecycles, from advice and guidance to complete execution: SAS® Premium Support brought together domain knowledge, consulting, technical expertise, specialist resources and global co-ordination.
Fast, efficient and cost-effective delivery of a new platform that was key in driving the new bank's successful integration, and in essential areas such as credit risk and Basel II; annual financial benefits anticipated of up to £50m; improved governance and compliance.

This isn't only about delivering a service; it's about deploying the right people at the right time and ensuring it all fits together . In a situation like this, continuity of people is critical.

Kevin Meachen

Professional Services Director, SAS UK

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